Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Bittersweet Football Tuesday

Today is New Year's, historically the best college football day of the year. It's the day when all the biggest bowls were played.

Can you believe that in 1970, there were 11 bowl games? A few years earlier, there were only 9. No 6-6 teams made it those years. Now, there are 32 post season bowl games.

I'm not complaining about that. While I don't watch all the games, I appreciate that they're there, and I don't mind that mediocre teams get a bowl game.

What I definitely do not like, however, is the devaluation of the "minor" New Year's Day bowl games. There are 6 games today, and 4 of them start at noon or earlier, to make room for the supposedly sexier matchup of USC vs. Illinois at 3:30pm, without competition from other games. Fans of the SEC will have their day start with Tennessee vs. Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl at 10:00am, a start time that is sure to please those who resent Lincoln-Financial.

Worse though, Arkansas vs. Missouri in the Cotton Bowl will start a mere half-hour later at 10:30am. And then, in a final insult, Michigan vs. Florida in the Cap One Bowl will start at noon, while those other two games are near halftime. SEC fans will have to choose between watching the end of the Cotton Bowl, the end of the Outback Bowl, or the first half of the Cap One Bowl.

Let's hope neither the Cotton nor the Outback go to overtime.

The SEC is having a good bowl season, at 4-0. None of the games were blowouts, and none of the games were pretty, but we ended up winning all of them.

Yesterday, Kentucky beat FSU in 35-28 shootout. I have to tip my hat to Florida State. They could have given up on this game when they traveled without 36 of their players due to suspensions and injuries, but they didn't give up. They could have given up when they fell behind by 14 on two different occasions, but they didn't. Ultimately, they didn't have the personnel to win the game, but it may have been one of their best-played games of the season.

In the evening, Auburn took down Clemson in overtime, 23-20, showcasing their new spread offense. This Auburn team, spread or not, looks like they have the personnel to be a good team for the next couple years. They have an heir apparent sophomore quarterback who looks dangerous, 3 good running backs all returning next year, and an offensive line filled with freshmen. This offense will be formidable next year and beyond, especially if they can find a few wide receivers.

It was an ugly game, with neither team playing particularly well early, but it ended up being an exciting game. And yes, I always root for SEC against non-SEC.

As for today's games, I think Florida is significantly better than Michigan, and I would be shocked if Michigan can stay with them. I don't know what to think about Tennessee vs. Wisconsin, because Wisconsin is something of a mystery to me, and Tennessee has a history of underachieving in bowl games. The one I'm looking forward to seeing is Missouri vs. Arkansas in the Cotton. I think that this is a good matchup, and if Arkansas plays up to their ability and beats Missouri, it will be a huge boost to the SEC, because Arkansas is a big underdog to a team that arguably should have made a BCS bowl.

I fully expect Georgia to handle Hawaii tonight, but you never know. I've been surprised before. If the SEC can somehow end the night 8-0, that would be.. wait for it.. legendary!

After today, we really focus on the Ohio State vs. LSU game coming up. No more recruiting stuff unless I change my mind.

1 comment:

Joshua said...

I think you mean to say that Auburn has "an offensive line filled with chop blocking freshman". They are nothing if not consistent.